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MLB AL Championship Odds: Toronto Blue Jays the Early Favorite To Take Home the Hardware

Ryan Kirksey breaks down the MLB AL Championship odds. The Toronto Blue Jays are the early favorite to take home the hardware.
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MLB AL Championship Odds: Toronto Blue Jays the Early Favorite To Take Home the Hardware

The Toronto Blue Jays are the early favorites to win the MLB American League Championship, but other teams are closing in on them. Read below to find out the MLB AL Championship odds.

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Tampa Bay Rays (+850) (Bet $100 to Win $850)

The Rays are always that team that you have no idea how they do it, but at the end of the season, they are right there in the thick of the divisional and pennant races. They have made it to the division series in each of the last three years and reached the World Series in 2020. They are off to a decent start this year (11-8) and have been doing it on the back of young pitching and young hitting that could prove to be very dangerous by the end of the season.

As usual, the Rays are in the top ten among all teams for walk rate and on-base percentage. Their team slugging percentage is still good (12th among all teams) which is equal to their place in runs scored this season. But thanks to outstanding pitching from young rookies like Shane McClanahan, Josh Fleming, and Drew Rasmussen, the Rays are top-ten in strikeout rate as well as walk rate. If Shane Baz can come back and deliver on the promise of his late 2021 call-up, this could be a real contender for the pennant come September. Baz is due back at some point in late May or June.

Chicago White Sox (+700) (Bet $100 to Win $700)

Somebody needs to check what's going on in the training room on the south side of Chicago these days because this team is just ravaged with injuries - something they seem to deal with every year. Currently, Lance Lynn and Eloy Jimenez are on the long-term IL. Yoan Moncada and Joe Kelly are on the 10-day IL. Liam Hendriks and Luis Robert are day-to-day. And Lucas Giolito already returned from an IL stint. That's the entire core of their team, and it has led to a disappointing 7-11 start.

There is still plenty of time to turn it around and they might have the most lethal combination of hitting and pitching in the entire league. But when will we see them all together? Not until late June at the earliest. Hopefully, by then it's not too late, because this team is overflowing with talent. As the team stands now, however, I can't bet on them to win until they prove they can stay healthy.

New York Yankees (+650) (Bet $100 to Win $650)

After they had been called out relentlessly for a lackluster offense, the Yankees finally broke out of their funk and started mashing the ball this week. They are on a six-game win streak and have scored 37 runs in their last four games. It never hurts playing the Orioles and the Guardians in a week's span, but this is a team who finally saw their bats wake up. After the scoring barrage this week, the Yankees are third in the majors in slugging and now second in the league in home runs.

The pitching is also doing its job, as the entire staff now ranks third in strikeout rate and fifth in SIERA. Led by the sharp ascension from Nestor Cortes and Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees' starters have the fourth-best ERA in the majors and are tied for fifth in fewest walks allowed this year. If this team keeps up the offensive pace and discovers another legitimate ace behind Gerrit Cole, they will be near impossible to stop in October. I'm placing my bets now since we have seen some offensive signs of life.

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Houston Astros (+550) (Bet $100 to Win $550)

The Astros are another team dealing with injuries to the core of their team. All of Jose Altuve, Ryan Pressly, and Lance McCullers Jr. are on the IL and Houston has been trying to piece things together in their absence. So far, they have struggled to a 10-9 record, but things could be turning around with a few changes recently made to the roster.

The first change that was overdue was inserting Cristian Javier into the starting rotation as the Astros plan to go with a six-man crew for a while. Over time, he should supplant Jake Odorizzi as a more reliable starter. They also have moved mega-rookie Jeremy Pena to the top of the order while Altuve is out. He is providing a spark they need at the top and gaining much-needed confidence in his rookie season. Pressly should return next week to stabilize the bullpen, which is sorely needed. After a few strong seasons, the Astros' relievers are middle of the pack in all metrics and have really struggled without Pressly as their anchor.

For Houston, I'm basically in a holding pattern to see if they can right the ship a little bit before I buy them as a team that can make the World Series for the fourth time in six years.

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Toronto Blue Jays (+375) (Bet $100 to Win $375)

Sitting just a half-game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, the Blue Jays look to be who we thought they were before the season started. Their revamped pitching staff featuring Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios combined with the star-power batting lineup are proving formidable for all American League opponents. The scary thing is, the pitching has actually underperformed relative to expectations and this team could be even better as the season goes along.

The trio of Gausman, Berries, and fireballer Alex Manoah are as scary as any trio in the AL and should be an elite rotation in a seven-game postseason series. That group allows the seventh-fewest walks in the league and contributes to Toronto's seventh-place rank in K%/BB%. We know about the top-of-the-order bats in George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero, and Bo Bichette. But they are getting big contributions from unsung heroes like Santiago Espinal, Zack Collins, and Raimel Tapia as well. When they get Danny Jansen and Teoscar Hernandez back from the IL, it will be tough to outscore this team. Their odds may still be the shortest, but it also looks like they may be the best.

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Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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